Female ? mm; male ? mm.
Characters of genus:
Carapace elongate and fairly low. The brownish cephalothorax have complex black lines. Head much wider than both row of eyes. The posterior medial eyes are larger than the laterals as well as oval and oblique. Posterior row of eyes has the medials closer to each other than to the laterals. Anterior row of eyes straight or slightly recurved while posterior row is procurved. The distance between the outer edges of anterior medial eyes is about the same as the distance between outer edges of posterior medials. Clypeus low about equal to the distance of one anterior medial eye. Fovea short as in the Clubionidae. Chelicerae strong with lateral condyles. Chelicerae with teeht both on promargin and retromargin. Labium longer than wide and angulate where sides meets posterior border.Sternum does not extend between coxae IV. Trochanters smooth. The distal end of metatarsi III and IV is not furnished with a preening comb. Males do not have a scutum. Some species have vague patterns of chevrons on the abdomen, but these patterns are not reliable in separating the species since the variation within species is considerable. Male palp with a tibial apophysis, the shape of which is important for identification. Sometimes the shape is discernible with a lens allowing for identification in the field. The epigyne is often large and females of some species are also identifiable in the field using a lens.
Pocock, 1898 (Ground Spiders).
Characters of family:
The gnaphosids are rather stout ecribellate spiders with a flattened and elongate abdomen. The carapace is ovoid and rather low being smoothly convex and with a distinct fovea in most species. The head is not sharply set off from the thoracic region. Gnaphosids are fairly easily recognized by their cylindrical and parallel spinners, the anterior pair being slightly longer, and more heavily sclerotized than the posterior pair. The anterior spinners are separated from each other by approximately one spinner diameter with some exceptions, e.g.
in which genus anterior spinners are closer. They have 8 eyes in 2 rows. The posterior medial eyes are often not round, but oval, triangular or reduced to slits. All eyes are with a silvery sheen except for the anterior medials, which are dark. The sternum is ovoid, pointed posteriorly. The chelicerae are robust, and the fang furrows are provided with teeth. The retromargin may have a sclerotized lamina (flat, keel-like plate) in place of teeth. This lamina is serrated in some genera. The curvature of the posterior row of eyes and the position and shape of cheliceral lamina and teeth are important characters when keying gnaphosids to genus level under the stereomicroscope. The endites usually have an oblique or transverse depression. They are provided with a serrula (row or cluster of tiny teeth on the front margin). Gnaphosids are also characterized by having 2 tarsal claws, claw tufts, and scopulae. Legs are stout and in some species there are small brushes of more and less stiff hairs present distally on metatarsus IV. Female palp is furnished with small spines and a finely toothed claw. The abdomen is often provided with dense coverage of short sleek hairs giving the abdomen a mousy-like appearance. Sometimes erect, curved setae are present, particularly at the anterior edge (see for example images of
). Many species are uniformly coloured in greyish-brown or blackish colours. However, abdomens of some species have striking white patterns of spots or lines while abdomens of others are iridescent. Most males have a scutum at the anterior end. The spiracle is situated close to the spinners. Gnaphosids are entelegyne spiders often having rather large epigynes with sclerotized structures. They are somewhat variable and closely related species may be difficult to identify. Male palps are usually provided with a large tibial apophysis and the shape of this is important when identifying the species.
Male, note the characteristic pointed tibial apophyse
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